Emmanuel Ngulube and USAID: The Malawi Hunger Fight
Emmanuel Ngulube — a Zambian native — has dedicated his life to the Malawi hunger fight. Before Ngulube decided to take on the battle of food insecurity in Malawi, he worked as a program specialist for the USAID in Zambia. Zambia, like many African countries, has experienced devastating natural disasters.

Ngulube acknowledged how fortunate his family was to survive the Zambian drought of 1980, because his “father worked for the mines and he could afford to buy food imported by the government, but others relied on emergency food assistance.” USAID’s Food for Peace mission has allowed Ngulube to find his niche and find creative ways for Malawi to establish strong food security.

The current conditions of Malawi resonated with Ngulube, because of the country’s past and most recent history with natural disasters. A record-breaking flood ripped through Malawi just last year, that left tens of thousands stranded. This year Malawi underwent a terrible drought and vast crop failure due to a warm oceanic phase called El Niño. The aftermath of El Niño left 6.5 million people in a crisis of food insecurity in Malawi.

Since Malawi is consistently plagued with natural disasters, its government has created an advanced technology that has assisted the country and its citizens with predicting natural disasters. Thanks to sufficient financing from the Global Facility for Disaster reduction and Recovery, Malawi has been able to establish the Malawi Disaster Risk Management project.

The Malawi Disaster Risk Management project has “led to advanced disaster preparedness by the country’s citizens, who are better able to predict catastrophic events and, therefore, more effectively prepare for them.”

Being able to prepare for natural disasters before they hit is crucial to Malawian citizens’ survival because the majority of them rely on rain-fed agriculture to make a living. One natural disaster can be the difference between a bountiful harvest and a catastrophic event.

For example, the Shire River Basin — which floods yearly — affects thousands each year and heavily hinders lower income families from recovering from natural disasters.

Malawi has developed an economic vulnerability and Disaster Risk Assessment that indicated “annual flood damage in the Shire River Basin resulted in an average loss of 0.7 percent of GDP ($9 million) per year. Elsewhere in the country, drought caused an average economic loss of 1 percent annually ($13 million).”

Although stopping natural disasters from affecting the country of Malawi is a tall task, Ngulube has fallen in love with helping the local communities create new ways to sustain themselves and recover from the tragic times of the past. Ngulube’s influence can be seen within many communities, whose battle with food insecurity in Malawi has been greatly reduced. Ngulube’s progress has only reassured him that his efforts are making a real difference.

Terry J. Halloran

Photo: Flickr